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Mom to Mom Mom to Mom

Every week I sit down at my kitchen table and with the best of intentions I write out a weekly meal plan. I've never delved deep into learning how to make a meal plan or the best way to do it, all I know is that if I write down six or seven meals for the week that use similar ingredients and double check what I will need against what's in my pantry, the chances of food going to waste or debating what to make for dinner drop dramatically. It's also a good way to use up what I have a lot of and keep dinners from becoming boring and repetitive (spaghetti again?)


Ever since my second baby came a long dinners have become far more simple. I'd rather make sure I get it done and on the table in a decent amount of time than be able to brag that I feed my family from scratch, three course meals every night. I'll always have two or three "pinch hitter" meals on my list. Things I can throw together quickly if time gets away from me or if life is in a general uproar. I usually make at least one dish that can be doubled and freeze half or that can be eaten the next night as leftovers. I haven't been adding many new dishes to our rotation simply for lack of time but every once in awhile something will catch my eye and I'll add it in. Just as an example, here's my meal plan list from last week. (I add in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables with each meal as well.)

Meal #1 Breakfast for dinner. (This one's always easy and becoming a tradition on Sunday nights.)

Meal #2 - Double batch of spaghetti sauce. (Spaghetti sauce is so easy to make yourself when you have a few simple ingredients.) Freeze half for later.

Meal #3 - Roast chicken breast over vegetables. (double the chicken)

Meal #4 - Leftover chicken over rice.

Meal #5 - Tacos.

Meal #6 - Use random leftovers from taco night to make nachos.

Meal #7 - Bean soup in the crock pot.

Pinch meal #1 - Frozen pizza

Pinch meal #2 - Frozen ravioli with some of the frozen spaghetti sauce.

We're still doing things pretty simple here. What's most important is that we all make time to sit down and eat together.

How do you meal plan?


by on Mar. 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (41-50):
slw123
by on Mar. 25, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Anything that I can make more than one meal out of is a real blessing.

ceciliam
by on Mar. 25, 2012 at 7:26 PM

I need to start meal planning again.

elijahsmama09
by on Mar. 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Quoting Kainalu55:

true.  maybe you can make the plan in advance, and run to the grocery store when you'll be needing the fresh produce.  The plan still works becuase you'll know what you're having and what you'll need to get

Quoting elijahsmama09:

 

Quoting Kmakksmom:

We make a meal plan for a whole month in advance and stick to it. 


That would be really hard for me...what about fresh produce? I eat a lot of salad, and I dont see it lasting a whole month, lol.



Well I usually am in the store again at some point between the two weeks, and if a produce item is on sale then I pick it up. Or for special sales I will make a special trip. Like this week, chicken breast is .99 a lb again, and I will be stocking up.
elijahsmama09
by on Mar. 25, 2012 at 8:48 PM


Quoting Kainalu55:

that's great! it's exactly what i need to do!

Quoting elijahsmama09:

I pln for 2 weeks. I keep a list of meals we like, and usually try a couple new ones as well. I write down what we need after looking through my pantry, and then plan a few meals that are really easy.

 

I just took a regular binder, and separated it into sections(dinners, apps, soups, desserts, breads, etc) and then added the recipes my family likes and that I use a lot.(even if it was something I make a million times. I wrote it out so I had it) Then I started filling in with more recipes that we tried and like, based on a 5 star rating. If it was awesome...5 stars. Nothing under 3 stars was added to the binder, and most 3 stars were put into the back to be "revised" and tweaked. I buy a big pack of plastic sheets so all recipes can be just wiped off. Learned this one the hard way, as I had to keep rewriting some, lol. Simple, and handy:) You could do the same in folders in your computer too I imagine. I like the feel of something real in my hands.

elijahsmama09
by on Mar. 25, 2012 at 8:52 PM


Quoting Bmat:

I should do this also- especially keeping a record of meals that we like.

Quoting Kainalu55:

that's great! it's exactly what i need to do!

Quoting elijahsmama09:

I pln for 2 weeks. I keep a list of meals we like, and usually try a couple new ones as well. I write down what we need after looking through my pantry, and then plan a few meals that are really easy.

 


It really does help!

elijahsmama09
by on Mar. 25, 2012 at 8:59 PM


Quoting Bmat:

Another problem I have with meal planning is that sometimes we have unexpected leftovers that I don't want to freeze- so this throws any plan off, or sometimes a friend suggests that we get together at a restaurant for dinner, so that planned meal flies out of the window.


Not at all. At least not with my planning. I have a very loose plan. I plan out 14 dinners, but do nto put them in spcific days. They are just possible dinner ideas and I know I have everything on hand to make them. If something comes up...easily switch to something simpler, or we go out...great!! Free night for me!

I also leave it open, because sometimes I dont know how long my leftovers will last. Three lunches? Four? I just go witht he flow. If it is more than 3 though I usually make something else to break it up, or google a new recipe to make with the leftovers. For instance I made corn beef and cabbage, but didnt know how long it would last. So I knew I was going to have that, and leftovers, and then maybe soup with leftovers later, but it was loose as too how many days that actually took. Does that make more sense to you? I couldn't meal plan super strict either.

Charizma77
by Carissa on Mar. 25, 2012 at 9:51 PM
Quoting slw123:

Anything that I can make more than one meal out of is a real blessing.



I agree, I always try to plan it that way.
Kainalu55
by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 3:50 AM

finally made a meal plan for he week. i just wrote down what we'd be having sunday through saturday.  there were a couple things we need from the store to complete the meals so hubby will pick those up on the way home from work tomorrow.

elasmimi
by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 6:51 AM

I now have a notebook overflowing with recipes I've printed off the cooking websites. The ones I have not tried are in the side pocket. They don't go into the actual book til I've tried them and they have been a success. If we don't want to repeat, they don't stick around. I'm trying to add 1 or 2 new items each week.

amy7243
by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 9:24 AM

 I need to meal plan better....I just get ingredients for them and make whenever.

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